[-empyre-] 3D in Gallery Space from Kathy Rae Huffman <kahuffm@attglobal.net>

Hi Empyreans....

I'm responding to some questions about showing 3D in the 'physical'
Gallery.  From my initial posting about the Lab3D show, I briefly mentioned
the 'problems' in getting funding.  I think it is something that is a
reality, and one that artists know all too well.

To be even clearer -- I also believe that everyone showing work in a
gallery 'should' be paid, but in order to do this, we (institutions) need
to raise the money.  To do that, the work needs to be known (ie: shown) to
enable funders, other curators, and critics to understand what the work is
(they often can't even imagine it); they need to understand the social,
theoretical and even physical impact of the work; and to actually see the
gallery visitor using the work.   There is a bit of difference in the Lab3D
exhibition artists, who came to install works in the gallery, and the Web3D
Art collection, which was primarily a submission to the jury -- and nobody
was paid (not the organisers, not the jurors, nor the artists).  This has
been an organising job done out of concern that there was no real good
crossover of 3D online work into the art and education fields -- especially
showing the strong content in work being done internationally.  There were
some 3d galleries online, yes.  But, they tended to be slanted a bit more
towards commercial work (in our opinion) or didn't profile the works by
artists we felt should be known.

As a curator, I spend a lot of my time looking for support for exhibitions
.. money as well as services and resources.  What institutions do have (at
their best) is infrastructure to provide the connectivity, security for
equipment and computers, and assistance in the gallery to explain what's
going on to the audience.  Insitutitions publicise the work, and by their
educational programmes, provide a forum for the exchange of ideas.  This is
what we can offer artists - and these support structures -- which are not
specific to any particular kind of medium -- seem to wrok.  At Cornerhouse,
we don't have a permanent technical team, so we needed to find these
important folks, bring them in to help install and maintain the show, and
we learned a lot from them.

Why on-line 3D in the gallery -- if it is (after all) designed for being
online!   We all know that often, those who are not computer literate
enough, can't access this work (even those of us who have already made the
leap have problems....at times).  To create an environment for the work to
be shown 'properly' -- either on a computer workstation, and/or projected,
and to have educational activities surrounding the works is of course among
the goals of the gallery.  To make a political point, a curatorial
statement, or simply to create a programme of events around an idea (or a
technology) is another reason -- often cited by artists in opposition to
curatorial choices.

Special centres dedicated to New Media are starting to develop, and are
important focal points for presenting works.  But, like the Media Art
Centres of the 80s, they will attact an audience of the already initiated -
and don't cross over into general art audiences enough.  It's a hard call
-- you have the technical resources and a specific audience.  Or, you enter
a 'normal' contemporary art centre or museum, and you deal with the
problems of not having enough technical support.  We at our best have the
best of intents, but curators are by nature cautious individuals, and not
often interested to dealve into topics they don't feel they are experts in
(curators are all experts in something! ).

What we need more of is the ability to bring fascinating work to a larger
and broader public.  They are ready for it, I believe that sincerely.

It's going to take a bit longer before on-line work and 3D in particular,
to become as visible as Video or even net art.  Although there is a lot in
common with video -- the projections, the sound, the level of light in the
gallery, etc...internet it is understood as a private experience -- sitting
in front of one's computer and navigating is a one person experience (often
with people in other locations).  There is another level / layer of
technology that scares off most arts organisations -- software, computer
compatibility, ip access at the correct speed, hardware/software, all of
the above!  A bit of ambassaadorial work on the part of both artists and
curators who specialise in media art, to promote the idea of 3D and
interactive wort is due.

Lab3D has run for six weeks with little problems.  We  have had to reboot
computers (which is no longer seen as a crisis among the gallery staff
members), replace bulbs on data beams, adjust sound and wiggle cable
contacts, but other than that, the exhibition has not presented serious
problems.  The terrible heat wave here meant we needed to ventilate the
computers better (they were all locked into pedestals or benches)...but
that done, all went very well.

I am only very sad that the critics have not come forward to challenge
themselves -- and to connect to the strong artistic concepts being
presented in this show.  Perhaps as Melentie has mentioned, it is because
we have not published enough on the medium.  The books now out are
basically about the theory of the online experience, but not on the work
itself.   Lab3D  is a show using technology, all the works use some kind of
connectivity, a computer, a digital image.  But it is not a show about the
technology.  Perhaps another plug of funding would have allowed this...but,
we'll have to be happy to have the documentation, and the results of this
mailing list!

Cheers, Kathy

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